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All started with bsod from WindowsXP: unmountable boot volume.

Then I tried ubuntu and Palimpsest. SMART status was OK (2 bad sectors), but all test failed on "reading system" (I don't know if I translate it correctly).

So I tried SeaTools from Seagate. Short test fails instantly, long test went at least through 99% of disk (2 errors found at about 20%), but result is failure (it tries also run again short test, failure).

Ubuntu couldn't mount the drive.

What are chances and how to perform: recovering data from drive, and maybe getting drive working again. It's not my drive and I believe there is no data backup.

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Sent it to a recovery firm, prepare to spend a lot and learn your lesson to backup the data next time. – Sven May 9 '13 at 14:21
You can try running HDAT2 (free) or Spinrite (commercial) to see if it can recover data from those bad sectors and mark them as bad. – slm May 9 '13 at 14:44

If you're willing to spend LOTS on recover, send it to a recovery firm and they can probably get most of the data off the drive. Pull the drive and don't power it on if you're thinking about pursuing this.

If "thousands" is too expensive, try putting the drive in a zip-lock baggy in the freezer overnight. See if the drive works when you pull it out. If it does, get the important data as quickly as possible. As soon as the drive warms up it will stop working again. Each of these extreme heat cycles does increasingly more damage to the drive, so you'll be lucky to do it a few times before the drive is "really" dead.

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Getting the drive working again? You don't. If you get data off it, you toss the drive. Hard drives that start to fail only get worse.

If the data is important, then STOP MESSING WITH THE DRIVE RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW. Send it to a drive recovery company such as Kroll OnTrack and let them recover the data for you. The more you try and mess with it, the more likely you will lose more data.

If you want to do it yourself (and don't care about losing everything in the process) there are lots of tutorials on the internet on how to use ddrescue and the like from a Linux live CD.

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Thanks, as soon as I realize how bad is disk status I stopped doing anything with it. I know, any action could case much data lose. – Ari May 9 '13 at 14:40

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